Posts by tag: Grey Market

Kawasaki October 21, 2017 posted by

Little Kwaker: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale

A small-displacement motorcycle with a four-cylinder powerplant like this Kawasaki ZXR250 really makes no practical sense: singles and parallel-twins are simple to manufacture, inexpensive to maintain, easier to package, torquey, and fun to ride. Up to a certain size, where the weight of a single piston and connecting rod create unacceptable vibrations that irritate the rider and tear the engine apart from within, they really just make sense, which helps to explain the popularity of single cylinder powerplants for smaller, or entry-level machines.

But the ZXR250, introduced in 1988, wasn't really an entry-level machine. It was intended for markets where experienced riders were limited by laws and heavy taxes on larger displacement machines. Riders that might want a more sophisticated machine, and were willing to pay additional costs in terms of purchase price, maintenance, and reduced fuel economy. What they got in return was a big bike experience, just without all that pesky horsepower...

The tiny, Swiss-watch marvel of an engine in the ZXR250 displaced just 249cc, but still had four cylinders, dual overhead-cams, and sixteen tiny valves. The bike produced a claimed 45hp, with a paltry 18 ft-lbs of torque from just 15 cubic inches, enough to push the 311lb machine to 124mph. Notably, the bike could scream along happily up to 19,000rpm, a big selling-point for fans of rev-happy engines. The rest of the spec was up to big-bike standards as well: a aluminum beam frame and a set of upside-down forks, something that was pretty uncommon for sportbikes, especially smaller machines, prior to the 1990s.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale

1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A Japanese Import Rare
42hp Inline 4 250cc 4 Stroke 19000rpm Red line
53000kms Runs and Drives great.
Forks have been rebuilt, brakes have been serviced, carbs have been cleaned and serviced with bigger jets, spark plugs and wires have been replaced, speedometer cable is new, has clear turn signal covers, has a rare rear seat cover but still has rear seat underneath, has a smoked windscreen, adjustable brake and clutch levers, and a Vega Sports muffler, comes with a Daishin Racing full aluminum pipe very light. Left side has some scrapes on fairing but doesnt affect anything. Registered and clean titled in Florida.
Motorcycle is pickup only. Sold as is.

Photos show the bike fitted with Japanese plates, which I'm assuming is in lieu of blocking the Florida plates with tape or a thumb or something. It's a bit dirty [see wheels] and there is damage to the left side of the bike as described by the seller, but looks complete and is otherwise very sharp for a nearly 30 year old machine. Obviously, a 250cc four cylinder sportbike is more a novelty than anything else, especially here in the USA where cheap speed is the order of the day. But as long as the price is right, I can completely see the appeal: being able to just pin the throttle everywhere, all the time, without tripling the national speed limit or riding with suicidal abandon is pretty cool. I'm a big fan of the "slow bike fast" thing and with a $5,000 Buy It Now price, I think this will likely find a buyer.

-tad

Little Kwaker: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale
Yamaha October 19, 2017 posted by

Ready to Roll: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

Yamaha's two-stroke Grand Prix replica went by a few different names, depending on where it was sold: RD500LC in Europe, RZV500R for the Japanese market, and RZ500 in Canada and Australia. You'll note that nowhere do we mention which version we got here in the USA. The reason? We didn't: this wild, two-stroke four-cylinder was never officially imported during production that lasted from 1984 through 1986. I'd assume this particular RZ500 probably slipped across our northern border at some point, although it's always possible it was smuggled into the US in someone's luggage coming back from vacation in Australia...

Of course, as lightweight as a two-stroke can be, that's all relative: in 1984, a sportbike making 88hp and weighing 450lbs dry was considered pretty darn lean and mean. Of course, that was nearly 100lbs more than Suzuki's rival RG500, which also made a bit more power. But neither would impress today's riding public, weaned on 120hp 600cc supersports and 150+ hp 1000cc superbikes. But fans of two-stroke performance aren't necessarily interested in top speed or pure performance. They're into the character of that performance, in that particular two-stroke zing that pretty much requires constant use of the slick six-speed gearbox to make any sort of progress, accompanied by the two-stroke's trademark ring-a-ding and the smoky haze left in its wake.

The Yamaha was powered by the kind of oddball engine you just don't see enough of these days: a liquid-cooled 50° two-stroke V4 that featured twin cranks, a pair of YPVS power valves and lubrication handled by Yamaha’s Autolube oil-injection. 80s fashion meant a 16" wheel up front, along with anti-dive forks, and an 18" rear wheel. Two-stroke engines themselves are generally very compact, but the expansion chambers required for performance applications meant different packaging challenges, and led to the RZ500's underslung rear shock that cleared space for the rear cylinders' exhaust pipes.

The seller's description indicates that the bike is not completely stock, but anything other than a mothballed time capsule is likely to have had some wear-and-tear, and it seems like the current or previous owners have taken every opportunity to update or improve the bike when opportunities presented themselves.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1985 YAMAHA RZ500 V4 Two Stroke
Excellent condition, Looks amazing and runs great
COMPLETE engine rebuild and Stage III porting by Wilson Performance about 6500 miles ago. Total cost $6,400.00     (documentation attached)
Wilson Performance Air Filter System (documentation attached)
Wilbers rear shock Series 640. Complete factory rebuild in Aug 2017 (documentation attached)
Jim Lomas polished stainless steel chambers
Mikuni 34mm round slide carbs (nicely jetted)|
New AVON AM26 Road Runner tires
New chain and sprockets with 520 chain conversion
DYNA Coils
New bodywork
Factory Yamaha Service manual included and the rear stand
Bodywork kit is from Australia and runs about $1100.00
EBC brake rotors front and rear

The Buy It Now price is listed at $15,000 on the nose, pretty much the going price for a nice RZ500 these days. From the description, this bike looks like it's in very nice condition and is ready to be ridden, with proper maintenance and mild performance updates that should increase power and rideability. With new bodywork and the non-stock exhaust, this might not appeal to the most dogmatic of purists out there but, for everyone else, it looks like a very nice example, and the recent engine work should hopefully put prospective buyers' minds at ease.

-tad

Ready to Roll: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Honda October 10, 2017 posted by

The Last and the Best? 1994 Honda NSR250R MC28 for Sale

Sometimes, the very final version of a car or motorcycle is a pale shadow of the original, as the years inevitably add pounds and dilute the purity of what made the original example so desirable. But the Honda NSR250R went out with a bang instead of a whimper, at the top of its game, and is considered by many to be the best of the series. The MC28 might have put on a couple pounds compared to the previous MC21, owing largely to that very cool ELF-designed Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm that was heavier than the double-sided aluminum units that preceded it, but the bike was packed with cutting-edge technology.

There were three versions of the MC28, the standard R version, the SE that came with a dry clutch, and the SP that included the dry clutch and a set of lightweight Magtek wheels. This example is the regular R, but all MC28s are pretty special and come standard with that Pro-Arm swingarm, a 90° liquid-cooled two-stroke v-twin and a six-speed cassette gearbox for easy, track-side gearing changes.

The two small combustion chambers were still filled by carburetors, but the charge was ignited by what was probably the most sophisticated electronic control system available on a motorcycle at that time. The fourth iteration of Honda's electronic ignition was called, naturally, "PGM-IV." The system took in sensor input from the throttle position, gear-selection, and rpm to create three-dimensional ignition maps for each cylinder and adjust Honda's RC "Revolutionary Controlled" Valve for maximum power and response.

The biggest concern if you're looking at a NSR250 is whether or not it has been de-restricted: power for the Japanese-market 250s was limited to just 45hp, and it can be very difficult to unleash the bike's full potential without the HRC version of the ignition card that functions as the MC28's key. The seller doesn't mention whether or not this bike has already been de-restricted, but it's worth a quick email to the seller as this will affect the value and desirability, especially for anyone interested in riding this little machine in anger.

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Honda NSR250R MC28 for Sale

This is a 94 Honda NSR250 MC28 v-twin 2-stroke sportbike with credit card ignition and only 6000 kilometers (3600 miles). 

Clean North Carolina title with the correct 11 digit VIN. These are quite rare to find in the US as they were originally only sold in Japan, and this is the lowest mileage example I have ever seen here in the US. It is completely stock and all the controls are tight and smooth as you would expect on a low mileage bike. I bought this bike in 2011 after it had been removed from storage, fluids changed/replenished, new tires mounted, and new chain installed. I start it up several times a year and ride it occasionally but I doubt I have put over 200 miles on it since I have owned it. I recently put a new battery in it and disassembled the carbs to clean the bowls and jets out.  It starts and runs as it should.  I don't need to sell this bike but I have a lot of other toys and feel it is time to turn it over for someone else to enjoy if that person is out there. Tool kit is in place and I also have the passenger seat pad.  Rear stand and indoor cover is included.  Has one scuff on the right side of the tail section that has been touched up, and the rear of the right lower is discolored.  Other than that, very minor blemishes only.  Not really interested in any trades. 

Winning bidder must pick up bike in person in Charlotte, NC and pay in cash.  Title will be signed over at that time.  Willing to discuss shipping if you make all arrangements to have your carrier pick bike up at my house after all funds have cleared.

The Buy It Now price for this NSR250 is $10,000 which is reasonable for a nice, clean NSR250 with a US title. The MC28 included some of the most advanced technology ever available in the two-stroke 250cc class, and is thought of by many as being the best-looking of the breed, with the cool single-sided swingarm providing the visual flourish that seals the deal. Unfortunately, residents of states like California might be out of luck, as titling can prove impossible for a bikes less than 25 years old. Of course, if you "know a guy," or "know a guy that knows a guy" then you can probably make that happen but, if you're in a state where registering this might prove possible, it's a huge help that this bike comes with a clean US title. Otherwise, maybe just buy it and display it for a couple years before you try to register it. Certainly, the last of the Honda two-strokes will only going go up in value.

-tad

The Last and the Best? 1994 Honda NSR250R MC28 for Sale
Suzuki October 7, 2017 posted by

Sweet Tooth: 1989 Suzuki RGV250Γ for Sale

Many of the most iconic race replicas are rolling billboards for tobacco products: Marlboro, John Player, Gauloises, Lucky Strike. Of course, that's no longer the case, with tobacco manufacturers largely banned from advertising on race bikes and cars, but it's hard to deny that those designs are memorable. But what if you're a racing fan, and want to own a bike from the glory days of two-stroke Grand Prix competition, but are morally opposed to the addictive, cancer-causing weed? Well, you can always look for a race replica a bike that advertises something less-lethal. Maybe something like this Suzuki RGV250Γ in Pepsi-Cola colors that just promotes... slightly less-lethal diabetes and obesity-causing sugar?

The pace of development for the 250cc two-stroke class was relentless, with multiple, distinctly different versions of each company's bike introduced during the short period between the mid 1980s and the early 1990s. This example of Suzuki's smoky two-stroke v-twin is actually a bit of a hybrid, combining the frame and bodywork of the earlier VJ21 with the swingarm and exhaust of the later VJ22. The VJ21 used a simple unit made of rectangular, box-section aluminum, while the later VJ22 used a curved, "banana" style swinger that was also made from aluminum, but distinctively curved on the right-hand side to allow the bulging expansion chambers to tuck in close to the bike's centerline and allow maximum lean angles.

The engine was Suzuki's liquid cooled, 90° two stroke v-twin with power valves and backed by a six-speed gearbox, a package that eventually found its way into Aprilia's entry into the class, the RS250. Power for de-restricted examples was in the neighborhood of 60hp, plenty to motivate the claimed dry weight of just 282lbs. The front wheel was 17" but the rear was 18" as was fashionable among two-stroke sportbikes of the period, but irritating if you're trying to shoe one today.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Suzuki RGV250 VJ21 for Sale

Up for sale is this clean 1989 VJ21 with a fresh top end and paint job. The bike handles well, and pulls strongly. It has benefited from an upgraded VJ22 arched swing-arm and cool dual single sided exhaust. It also has a new battery installed. It was recently imported from the UK.

The bike will come with copies of all the US customs paperwork, European registration documents, and a Bill of Sale. This is a classic and can be registered in all 50 States. I ask that the winning bidder pay a $300 deposit within 24 hours. I offer shipping with a right of refusal guarantee. If you've paid the deposit and delivery fee you can opt out of the sale whatever your misgivings may be. My delivery rates are competitive among motorcycle shipping companies.  Thanks for looking at my auction. Please check out my other listings. I currently have a variety of Grey Market Japanese Imports from Europe/UK available. I welcome all inquires and bids. However, please, please, please only bid if you willing, and able, to dispense with this transaction in a reasonable about of time. Happy Bidding! 

This one is a runner for sure, not a collector: the paint looks sharp, but isn't original, and the bike has been updated with that stylish banana swingarm of the later VJ22, along with the matching "shotgun" exhaust set up. I like the swingarm, but I'd ditch those weird green-gold levers for a set of black ones immediately if it were my bike. The big draw here? The $5,750 Buy It Now price, making it one of the most affordable RGV250s we've seen in a while. The seller claims it "can be registered in all 50 states" but that's simplifying things a bit, from what I understand. Especially in California. As always, caveat emptor. 

-tad

Honda October 5, 2017 posted by

Three to Get Ready: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

The 1980s were a very exciting time in the motorcycling world, especially for fans of Japanese bikes, and a huge variety of machines were available in a dizzying array of configurations: two-strokes and four-strokes, singles, twins, triples, fours, and even six-cylinder engines. And it wasn't just engines that saw the application of innovative new technologies: anti-dive forks, electronic ignitions, and radial tires all became common on sporting machines for the first time. Of course, race-replicas were very popular as always, and into the mix came the Honda NS400R that combined all of those elements into a potent little package.

At the center of this unusual machine was a liquid-cooled, 90° V3 meant to ape Honda's GP machine of the period. Although with the two flanking cylinders canted forward and the middle one pointing up, it was actually the reverse of the racing machine's configuration that had the single cylinder pointed towards the front. As you'd expect, the two-stroke had Honda's ATAC powervalve to give the bike some additional midrange grunt and the 387cc engine put out a claimed 72hp through a six-speed transmission to the rear wheel. Overall, the package was very refined, with a claimed weight of just 360lbs. Handling was a definite strong point, helped by TRAC anti-dive forks up front and a Pro-Link rear, with modular Comstar wheels and radial tires at both ends.

Also, because I'm into weird details, I have to point out the tiny triangle of fairing that folds out when the sidestand is extended. Does it serve any practical purpose? Of course not. Did it cost real money to develop and manufacture? For sure it did. But that's the kind of detail that defines bikes of this period.

So why a 400cc machine, when Suzuki and Yamaha were producing race-replicas closer to the actual racing displacement of 500cc? Well bikes intended for the Japanese market were limited in terms of power and displacement throughout the period, and Honda likely wanted to make sure a single version of the bike could easily be sold in all markets. Unfortunately at the time, a perceived power and performance deficit compared to the RG500 and RZ500 likely hurt sales, but I think that's far less of an issue now: none of these bikes are especially fast by today's standards and the handling of the NS400R is famously good.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R Rothmans NC19 for Sale

NS400R a road going replica of the GP motorcycle. 2 stroke with a V3 engine.

The bike is imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the US. This bike is sold without title. (NO TITLE) Sold as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return.

Start engine! Runs OK, new battery.

This bike is original, with 25,488 km (15,837 miles) This motorcycle is 31 years old. Some scratches so look carefully all pictures and video. Sold as is.

Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping to your location. (Bike in Carson now.) If anyone wants to come see the motorcycle, please contact me.

These flew under the radar for a long time, compared to the 500cc Suzuki and Yamaha, but prices are on the rise now. This recently-imported example looks shiny, and the seller claims it is original. A few scrapes and scratches mar the bike, and the lower right-side pipe does have some damage, although maybe that'll buff out? There are no takers yet at the $5,800 starting bid with a couple days left on the auction. As always, the lack of a US title may be discouraging bidders, as that can be difficult to navigate, and many would rather not deal with the headache.

-tad

Three to Get Ready: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale
Yamaha September 28, 2017 posted by

Jersey Titled Two-Stroke: 1992 Yamaha TZR250 3XV for Sale

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the Japanese manufacturers engaged in heated competition in the quarter-liter class, creating some of the most exciting small-displacement motorcycles of all time. They were lightweight, highly-developed, and looked great. Unfortunately here in the USA, we didn't really get to experience them at the time, as ever-tightening emissions regulations effectively pulled the plug on roadgoing two-strokes by the mid-80s. Luckily, time has passed and now many of these bikes have passed the 25 year mark, making it feasible to import them from countries where they were originally sold. While it's not too hard to find decent, US-titled Honda NSR250Rs, Yamaha's TZR250 is much less common, especially this later 3XV version.



That makes a certain amount sense: the NSR was the best selling 250 at the time and, although it's pretty exotic here, was relatively plentiful in Europe and especially in Japan. While competitive in terms of performance, this final version of the TZR250 that was built between 1991 and 1996 was never officially available outside Japan, although some did find their way to other markets, due to grey market or "parallel import" laws. The previous 3MA was relatively radical, with a "reverse head" parallel twin engine that saw the carburetors fitted at the front of the engine, allowing the exhausts a straight shot out the tail, with the expansion chambers inside the tailpiece by the rider's thighs. The additional complexity apparently paid no significant dividends so Yamaha followed the "if you can't beat them, join them" philosophy and switched to a compact v-twin for the 3XV with a bore and stroke of 6mm x 50.7mm 90° that gave 249.7cc .

The 3XV followed the same formula as the NSR and RGV, with a six-speed gearbox, YPVS power valve, "banana" swingarm for improved cornering clearance, and an aluminum beam frame, in this case an evolution of Yamaha's sculptural Deltabox unit. Weight was right on the money: 278lbs dry and the government-mandated 45hp, although more was available with de-restriction. How much? Well how long do you want your engine to last? The seller of this particular machine makes no mention as to whether or not it has been de-restricted, but potential buyers should inquire and, if it has not, contact a two-stroke specialist to find out what that might entail.

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Yamaha TZR250 for Sale

1992 TZR 250 clean title with very low miles. All original in excellent condition. Currently titled, registered and insured. Carbs cleaned, synced and tuned. fresh fluids (brake, coolant, trans oil and 2T oil) motul products. Fairly new dunlop GP300 tires (150 miles) and EBC brake pads. Front forks and rear shock need to be serviced.

I'd personally prefer this bike in the traditional Yamaha red-and-white "speedblock" bodywork, but the black--and-teal-and-white pattern seen here looks very restrained and classy, something that can't often be said for any paintjob involving teal... There's plenty of time left on the listing, and the seller is asking $8,500 for the bike, which is pretty much par for the course, considering the relative rarity of the 3XV here in the US. This bike is right on the limit for the 25 year cut off, but that Jersey title is a positive sign, as the NJDMV isn't the most permissive... Honestly, NJ is a bit more strict than even California's DMV in some ways, as they actually have a vehicle inspection requirement [for cars anyway] that goes far beyond a simple emissions sniff test: your car can fail for having a non-operative parking brake! What does that mean for this TZR? Possibly nothing, but at least we know that the owner had to likely jump through a few hoops and file the correct paperwork to make this legal at least.

-tad

Jersey Titled Two-Stroke: 1992 Yamaha TZR250 3XV for Sale